Friday, March 30, 2007

Slower than Molasses in January

I never thought about the old saw, "Slower than Molasses in January", but I never would have thought it derived from an actual event.

In 1919, a huge molasses tank in Boston, owned by US Industrial Alcohol, exploded and flooded the town with a sixteen-foot-tall wall of molasses that killed 21 people, injured over a hundred, and took out several buildings. Two and a half million gallons of molasses (about 14,000 tons) leveled several city blocks. The molasses was for distillation purposes (for industrial alcohol and rum)-- and the accident precedes the start of Prohibition by one day.

More here, and a writeup on the accident here.

As I read through some of the articles, I discovered that this is not the only Molasses Flood. This happened in 1911 in New Orleans, as well.

And how fast is molasses in January? Well, estimates say that the molasses ran through the streets and through buildings at about 35 miles per hour.

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